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Sam Harris New Book - A Letter To A Christian Nation
Posted: 05 November 2006 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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[quote author=“SeculiTerminus”]I have to side with Barry on a lot of these things: Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins et al. are certainly doing an excellent job of debunking religion on the rational side, but most religious people I’ve talked to never cite these reasons for being part of their religion - the response I keep hearing over and over is that it’s because their religion offers a community, a place for them to go. Until an atheistic/humanistic organization can supply a place for people to go on Sundays, I think the success we’re going to have with be limited.

You’re absolutely right that one of the major and most important parts of religion isn’t the philosophy at all but the community. Part of that is healthy, in that it gives people an extended family to depend on in times of need, it gives people ready friends, it gives people things to do with like-minded individuals on Sunday. I have known any number of liberal religious folk who basically continued in their religion because of the community, and frankly because they had made many of their friends through their parents at the church when they were young.

The flip side of community, or in-groups, of course, is that they do tend to produce notions of “out-groups” as well: knowing you are getting together with your friends under the green banner on Sunday means you are aware that there are many people who aren’t there with you, who may not show up every sunday. What are they off doing? And there are also people across town getting together under a blue banner ... hmmm, they can’t be all right, now can they?

:wink:

(This is, absolutely, something we are all guilty of. The big problem, though, is when you think you have an infallible route to knowledge, and when you think that an eternity of afterlife depends on what you do or don’t do. That can all too easily lead to extremism).

Historically, in relatively atheistic societies like those in northern Europe, atheists don’t have atheist meetings on Sunday, so I don’t see it as such an important factor. To do that is basically (IMO) to throw in the towel and say, “Let’s become a religion too.” The Unitarian Universalists, the Quakers, the Society for Ethical Culture, even many Zen Buddhists have basically taken this route: they are (pretty much) atheists, they have meetings one day a week, they get together to talk or meditate. Funnily enough they aren’t taking the world by storm, although I for one would have little problem if they were more prominent.

My taste runs for an atheistic society (like CFI) that doesn’t try to ape religion: it doesn’t go in for rituals, even ritual meeting times. It exists to investigate, inquire and question, but little more. It is not much different from a quasi-university or museum.

But to each his own.

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Posted: 05 November 2006 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Yeah, you’re right, obviously it doesn’t have to be on Sunday. It could on Monday, or Tuesday, or any of the other days :wink:

But seriously speaking, although it obviously doesn’t have to be on any particular day of the week, I think that the fact that most atheists don’t have specific, local places to go to meet other atheists is a problem that we face. In Europe, I think secularism was (paradoxically) helped by the fact that there was an official state church - I think that I actually got this from an episode of PoI - and in our pluralistic society in the US, we may have more trouble than Europeans.

As for the problem of out-groups, it’s certainly a problem, but as atheists don’t (normally) claim absolute knowledge of the universe, I would imagine that we’d have less trouble than revelatory theists.

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Posted: 05 November 2006 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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[quote author=“SeculiTerminus”] I think that the fact that most atheists don’t have specific, local places to go to meet other atheists is a problem that we face.

Maybe so, for some percentage of us ... that’s part of why CFI is expanding and trying to buy buildings to use as centers in places like NYC ...

:wink:

But as I say, #1, there are already several atheistic quasi-religions around if you want that sort of thing. And #2, whatever the issue in Europe, they don’t have atheistic meeting places around, and yet nonbelief is markedly high. So I have a suspicion that it wouldn’t make a huge difference here.

And do recall that there are any number of secular organizations in most towns and cities which could serve the purpose of a weekly meeting place.

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Posted: 06 November 2006 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Most people are not aware of atheism!  They know a caricature of it. They haven’t studied it . And it will take humor to make it palatable.Even with all the many atheist books and sites, others do not get a chance to learn about it.So all the talk about the god region of the brain is not much of a theory.Look at Lewis and Collins:they when they were atheists , probaly had only a shallow concept of it . People already have other sources of community. Eliot Sobel, Jonathon Harrris , Graham Oppy, Michael Martin and George Smith have shown the improbality of theism. Others have also. It is a matter of getting atheists to make themselves as atheists heard! I only chanllenge theism on the internet; otherwise, I let others say any nonsense whatsoever without challenging it.  On Dawkins list , I am a number seven as I utterly deny the existence of a god: there is no evidence whatsoever for one ! I might be wrong , but I doubt it . I think the situation is the same as patent officers rejecting   :wink: perpetual motion machines.Evidence of absence is here indeed absence of evidence and therefore, no argument from ignorance. Theists just put old garbage into new cans that we summarily empty! I am glad that Dawkins takes on theistic evolution and errancy! :evil:  :!:  :idea:

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 12 November 2006 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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[quote author=“Barry”]...his blatant Islamaphobia…

as salman rushdie noted in one of the recent podcasts, this seems like something of a strange thing to be worried about. it implies that there’s nothing in islam to cause concern, that it should be strange for someone to have actual grievances against muslim theology.

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Posted: 12 November 2006 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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[quote author=“loren michael”]as salman rushdie noted in one of the recent podcasts, this seems like something of a strange thing to be worried about. it implies that there’s nothing in islam to cause concern, that it should be strange for someone to have actual grievances against muslim theology.

First, welcome loren michael.

Yes, I was noting the same thing. Salman Rushdie gave eloquent expression to many such arguments.

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Posted: 12 November 2006 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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I hope that other religions will get a Why I am not a_ book . Ihave never thought of the future state for me! To me , it is a matter of knowledge if there is a god , not of wanting a better life here or later. We find community elsewhere anyway, so we don’t need any religious nonsense to bolster us in that regard.  :!:  :idea:

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 12 November 2006 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Islamaphobia vrs. Koranic Criticism, etc.

Barry wrote:
...his blatant Islamaphobia…

Lauren Michael replied: As salman rushdie noted in one of the recent podcasts, this seems like something of a strange thing to be worried about. it implies that there’s nothing in islam to cause concern, that it should be strange for someone to have actual grievances against muslim theology.

There is a difference between being concerned and critical of the religion of Islam, and in particular, Political Islam (which is partly a creation of US foreign policy).. and being Islamphobic.  The latter, as Harris and others like Chris Hitchens act it out, is more about imperial politics, simplistic reasoning and hidden racism.

Barry

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Posted: 12 November 2006 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Re: Islamaphobia vrs. Koranic Criticism, etc.

[quote author=“Barry”]

Barry wrote:
...his blatant Islamaphobia…

Lauren Michael replied: As salman rushdie noted in one of the recent podcasts, this seems like something of a strange thing to be worried about. it implies that there’s nothing in islam to cause concern, that it should be strange for someone to have actual grievances against muslim theology.

There is a difference between being concerned and critical of the religion of Islam, and in particular, Political Islam (which is partly a creation of US foreign policy).. and being Islamphobic.  The latter, as Harris and others like Chris Hitchens act it out, is more about imperial politics, simplistic reasoning and hidden racism.

Barry

you really should establish a case for that sort of thing. harris has provided a wealth of reasons to be concerned about theology, and he directly addressed the notion that race had anything to do with his views.

how does imperialism play into it? for that matter, what is the simple reasoning that you abhor?

there was a podcast that you might be interested in from KCRW that had a debate/discussion featuring sam harris, andrew sullivan, and jonathan kirsch, where all three of them provided a good amount of their thoughts on religious incompatibility, fundamentalism, and islam.

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Posted: 12 November 2006 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Islamaphobia

you really should establish a case for that sort of thing. harris has provided a wealth of reasons to be concerned about theology, and he directly addressed the notion that race had anything to do with his views.

how does imperialism play into it? for that matter, what is the simple reasoning that you abhor?


OK… You can begin by reading Robert Dreyfuss’s book, “Devils Game.”

I know what Harris “said” about race, but why does he spend most of his most vicious attack time on Islam?  He says it is about the theology, but it really is about the terrorism.  But the terrorism is only partly about the theology.

For more on Harris’ book re ‘The New Atheists,’ see the dicussion on these forums begginning here: www.cfi-forums.org/viewtopic.php?t=1177&sid=4735c62a4899fc423a2d98e13577ee21

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Posted: 13 November 2006 02:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Harris attacked Islam for the very reason he said he did: because at the moment it it the most violently pernicious theology on earth. He has also said that if he had lived at a different time, he might be more critical of some other religion.

No need to look for wheels within wheels when the correct explanation is staring us in the face.

Rushdie made precisely the same point in his talk.

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Posted: 15 November 2006 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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It is high time for scientists,  as Time reports this week , to be critical of religion . Natural selection and teleology opposed each other as Dawkins shows in his new book .The little debate in Time between him and Collins shows that the latter loves obfuscation. As Amiel Rossown shows @ Talk Reason ,Kenneth Miller, in the second part of his excellent book uses intelligent design that he showed to be in error in the first part. My thought isn’t so much about the wrongs of religion as it is about the silly arguments in their favor. I’ve tried to show some here. Dawkins also takes on the errantists ,thankfuuly.Why good we ignore the inerrantists like John Shelby Spong who does a good job showing the Tanakh and the Testament as having many bad passages and a low morality and comes to use our humanist one ? We need them as allies against the fundamentalists, but they too are faith -based . :D :idea:  :!:

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 16 November 2006 07:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Future state

I have never given any thought to a future state for myself! If someone dreads never having that state, she needs professional help!  :cry:  :!:  :idea:

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 18 November 2006 04:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Jonathon Harris’s “GOD .Freedom and Immortality ” and Jordan Howard Sobel’s ” Locgic and Theism ” are quite good and lengthy and costly. Michael Martin’s books are excellent and his three anthologies are fine.

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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